The Prettiest Cities in Europe

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Recently I shared with you all my favourite fairy tale towns in Europe and because there were so many great suggestions for a city style post of the same kind, here we are again with my handpicked selection of the prettiest cities in Europe that still have that beautiful small town feel. While I believe I could have gone on writing about my favourite cities in Europe forever (I’m only a few countries shy of visiting all of Europe), I think I’ve managed to finally narrow it down to the absolute prettiest cities in Europe and why you should visit them. So lets do this!

Nyhaven Copenhagen Copenhagen_Winter

Copenhagen, Denmark

Although I visited Denmark in the grey blanket known as winter, I couldn’t have been more mesmerised by this sprawling city that still somehow felt like a quaint, charming little town in parts. Undoubtedly my favourite area in town is Nyhaven, the colourful seaside dock, lined with gorgeous cafes offering blankets and outdoor fires in the colder months.

Read more: Copenhagen Bucket List: Everything you Must See and Do!

Amsterdam_Winter amsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands

With its iconic canals and picturesque tree-lined avenues, Amsterdam is a strong contender for the prettiest city in all of Europe. Popular year-round despite the cold winter temperatures, the city is a tourist mecca and especially hard to visit during the summer months. I’d recommend visiting in the shoulder season to avoid both the tourists and the crowds – however this city truly is beautiful no matter what time of year!

Read more: Amsterdam Bucket List

Venice venice

Venice, Italy

Another popular city but so beautiful it can’t be missed is Venice in Northern Italy. The gorgeous canals, singing gondeliers and colourful facades are reason enough to visit – what more could you ask of a city built in the Renaissance period!?

Read more: Venice Bucket list: Everything you must See & Do!

vienna Vienna Bucket list

Vienna, Austria

Of all the cities I hold dear, Vienna is one that truly captured my heart upon first visit. While the architecture is stunning, I strongly urge you to head indoors and discover two of my favourite passtimes in Vienna: Coffee houses and art museums.

Read more: Vienna Bucket list & A Quick Guide to the Vienna Coffee Houses

Prague Prague Dancing House

Prague, Czech Republic

With a unique blend of architecture over the ages, Prague has a distinctly gothic heart and yet seemingly comes to life over the summer months with colourful greenery and sunlit facades that immediately make the city more inviting. Charles Bridge is an obvious standout, but be sure to wander further down the Vltava River to check out the Fred & Ginger dancing house!

Read More: Prague Bucket List & 3 Days in Prague

ljubljana Ljubljana

Ljubljana, Slovenia

There’s a high chance Ljubljana is the single most underrated capital city in all of Europe. The capital of Slovenia has a similar charm to Paris, however with much less crowds and much more of a small town feel. Even if you visit for just a day, this city is worth stopping at!

Read more: One Day in Ljubljana

48 Hours in Zurich | World of Wanderlust 48 Hours in Zurich | World of Wanderlust

Zurich, Switzerland

There’s no denying Zurich is one of the most gorgeous cities to visit in Switzerland so its no surprise that it is one of the most frequented by travellers. With the lake, the old town and the incredible surprise of Swiss pastries… you can’t go wrong!

Read More: How to Spend 48 Hours in Zurich

Hôtel Plaza Athénée Paris | World of Wanderlust What I Ate in Paris | World of Wanderlust

Paris, France

This list just wouldn’t be complete without mention of Paris. Charming in an old world kinda way, colourful in Spring and beautifully warm in Summer… there really is no bad time to find yourself in Paris!

Read More: A Walking Guide to Paris

st petersburg peterhof palace

St Petersburg, Russia

My all time favourite city in Russia (okay, to be fair I have only visited two), is St Petersburg. The history of this city is absolutely fascinating and if you have the time to dig a little deeper, I’d highly recommend brushing up on your history lessons before visiting – it will make your time here all the more enjoyable! Absolutely do not miss the Hermitage Museum and Peterhof Palace.

Read more: St Petersburg Bucket List!

Quick Guide to Strasbourg France | World of Wanderlust Quick_Guide_to_Strasbourg_France

Strasbourg, France

Travelling between France and Germany comes with at least one great positive: the Alsace region. As someone who loves both cultures – the food, languages, people and architecture, I am in my absolute element when visiting the Alsace region. This area has changed hands between France and Germany many times over the year, resulting in an intriguing region that offers a blend of both cultures. One of my all time favourite regions in Europe!

Read more: A Quick Guide to Strasbourg

Lisbon Portugal alfama_neighbourhood_guide

Lisbon, Portugal

And of course – Lisbon! As one of the most colourful and vibrant cities of Europe, Lisbon is currently undergoing a complete resurgence as one of the most popular, trending cities to visit in Europe at present. I’d recommend at least a few days in Lisbon to get a feel for the city, its great food and even greater hospitality!

Read more: A Quick Guide to Lisbon

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

Where to Find the Best Gelato in Florence

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If you’re wondering where to find the best gelato in Florence, look no further. As a self confessed gelato addict and personally appointed sweets enthusiast, I have been to Florence a number of times to try, taste and delight over the incredible creamy textures and rich flavours of the best gelato in Italy. Here are the top picks (in order of preference!)

florence

1. La Carraia

Although it might seem a little far in the distance when consulting a map, La Carraia, located on the Oltranro side of the river is extremely worth the walk. Besides, the more you walk out of your way to get the gelato, the more you can indulge once there! The best idea is to pick three flavours and learn what you like, followed by a later visit for your favourite flavour(s) or just try a few more! You really can’t go wrong – this is perhaps the best gelato in the world. The prices are also a steal (presumably thanks to their location a little out of the way) with a baby cone on offer at just 1 euro. The portion servings are very generous, so be sure to arrive hungry or after a light lunch only – you’ll want to save plenty of room for these creamy creations!

Location: Piazza Sauro Nazario, 25/R – Ponte alla Carraia (on the Oltrarno side) & Carraia 2 on Via dei Benci

2. Badiani 

Due to its other offerings (as a pastry shop, coffee AND gelateria), Badiani comes in at second place as it offers a great light breakfast in the morning, followed by gelato in the afternoon/evenings. Without a doubt the flavour of choice to try is “Buontalenti”, which was named after the man who is said to have invented gelato itself back in the 15th Century.

Location: Viale dei Mille, 20, about 4 blocks from the stadium

3. Carapina 

This gelatria prides itself on using on the freshest ingredients to create its wonderfully creamy creations, making it one of the best places to go for gelato in Florence. Because of their commitment to keeping the gelato fresh, the flavours are limited and seasonally on offer. This is perhaps the best place to go for fruity flavours.

Location: Via Lambertesca, 18 and Piazza Oberdan, 2r

4. Grom

If you like your gelato rich and full of flavour in just one small spoonful, then you really can’t go past Grom. After such success in Florence they have since opened numerous stores across the world in locations like Manhattan, Paris, and Tokyo. What makes their gelato so unique is that they source only the best ingredients from all over the world, such as cocoa beans from Venezuela and Colombia (hence I would really recommend the chocolate flavour!!!)

Location: Via del Campanile – corner with Via delle Oche (right side of the Duomo)

5. Gelateria de’Neri

If you like your flavours a little more inventive and sometimes on the whacky side, head on over to Gelateria de’Neri for a fantastic range of playful flavours with incredible tastes. The caramel is rich and creamy (a must try!), but flavours like chocolate and hot chilli with pistachio will surprise and enlighten your tastebuds. Be sure to try a few flavours to see what you fancy/could do without!

Location: Via dei Neri 9/10r

This list could go on and on as Florence is full of gelaterias, however you really needn’t venture beyond this list – you’ll find the creme de la creme in the above locations! And if I’m to be completely honest, I personally wouldn’t venture beyond La Carraia (#1) – it really can’t be beat!

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

Old Paris Today: Where to find the best of “Old Paris”

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Having been to Paris many times before, on this trip I decided to venture off in search of “old Paris” – the neighbourhoods, streets, cafes and boutiques in Paris that remain mostly undisturbed by modernisation and offer a nostalgic look at Paris’ golden days in the roaring 1920’s.

Old Paris | World of Wanderlust

Keystone-France, Getty Images

Années Folles

In France, the roaring 20’s were known as Années Folles, a period in Paris characterised by a revolutionised way of thinking, extravagance, joy and the art of socialising.

It was in the 1920s at the close of the First World War when a lot of changes occurred in Paris. Women suddenly knew how to take care of themselves following their time being forced to learn how, the middle class were suddenly able to experience the same luxuries that were once only available to the privileged elite, and Parisians were all the more interested in aesthetic pleasures such as fashion and the artistic “Art Deco” movement.

It was in particular fashion that really drove this desire to always be out of the house socialising, an act that women had previously not been accustomed to. All of a sudden women were wearing short dresses, cutting their hair, wearing make-up and perfume, and smoking in public. This of course gave them all the more reason to leave the house and show off their new threads, all the while admiring others’ and socialising with fellow Parisians which in turn allowed the city to really spring to life.

So, where to find old Paris today?

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Île de la Cité & Île Saint-Louis

The small island which houses Notre Dame Cathedral has always been a popular spot for Parisians and outside visitors who come to enjoy the summer sunshine. This cathedral is of course one of the most recognisable landmarks in the city, but little do most visitors know it is also where you can go off the beaten path to discover a few hidden gems that reflect Paris’ glory days.

Wander along Rue Chanoinesse to discover cute cafes, continuing onwards to Île Saint-Louis for Paris’ best ice cream in typical old fashioned Parisian style at Berthillon.

Old Paris Today | World of Wanderlust Old Paris Today | World of Wanderlust Old Paris Old Paris Old Paris

Le Marais

Le Marais is about as classic as neighbourhoods come when in search of “old Paris”. This entire neighbourhood is full of fabulous finds in the small winding alleys, so be sure to get off the metro at Saint Paul (1) and simply wander without rhyme or reason.

Carette is the perfect lunch spot to transport you back to the golden days, all the while enjoying a french pastry and people watching from your perch opposite Place des Vosges.

Old Paris in Montmartre | World of Wanderlust Old Paris in Montmartre | World of Wanderlust Old Paris in Montmartre | World of Wanderlust Old Paris in Montmartre | World of Wanderlust

Montmartre

The whole neighbourhood of Montmartre (save for Boulevard de Clichy) allows you to transport yourself back in time to Paris’ glory days. The streets are lined with picturesque buildings, ornate Parisian balconies, small cafes, authentic local boutiques, and plenty of nostalgia at every turn. Be sure to drop by Café des Deux Moulins if you’re a fan of the film Amélie, as this is where the cafe scenes were filmed.

Old Paris Today | World of Wanderlust Old Paris Today | World of Wanderlust Old Paris Today | World of Wanderlust

St-Germain-des-Prés

In the popular and affluent neighbourhood of St Germain you will still find a few cafes and vintage stores that allow you to take yourself back in time. Sure, some of them are so well known that you will hardly be able to hear yourself think let alone take yourself back in time, but still worth a visit nonetheless. Café de Flore is an obvious choice as is Les Deux Magots, but both will allow you to feel like a Parisian aristocrat if you avoid meal times and stop by for a coffee or chocolat chaud.

 ‘Old Paris’ Establishments to Visit:

Lido Cabaret

Moulin Rouge Cabaret

Shakespeare & Company Bookshop

La Petite Chaise Restaurant

L’Escargot Montorgueil Restaurant

Do you have any great establishments that showcase “old Paris” to add!?

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

The Prettiest Town in France!? A Quick Guide to Colmar

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And here we are again – with another French town taking my breath away. After claiming that Annecy would have to be the prettiest town in France, I’m back with a new claim: perhaps that title belongs to both Annecy and Colmar… or perhaps even more correctly, France is full of cute towns to explore! Regardless, I cannot choose. Both of these towns are an absolute delight to explore, so if you find yourself in the North-East Alsace region of France, here is why you absolutely must visit Colmar!

Guide-to-Colmar

A Guide to Colmar France | World of Wanderlust

Checking In: Le Columbier Colmar

For our stay in Colmar our only interest was being centrally located so that we could make the most of our short two day visit. After doing a little research online I found “Le Columbier” Apartments & Hotel who were highly rated based on reviews, so it seemed the obvious choice given their location right by the water and just a short few minutes walk to all the shops and centre of town.

The 4* hotel turned out to be perfect for our stay, offering a light buffet breakfast in the mornings to get us started for the day. After such a good experience at the hotel and with rooms extremely generous in size, I would definitely recommend this hotel to travellers on a mid-range budget in Colmar.

A Guide to Colmar France | World of Wanderlust A Guide to Colmar France | World of Wanderlust

What to See in Colmar

As Colmar was the last town to be freed after the Second World War, the German influence is very noticeable in most of the buildings in the older part of town, with many of them incredibly well preserved and painted in bright colours.

The entire Alsace region changed nationalities between French and German throughout the course of history, so the unique blend of architecture is the biggest drawcard for many visitors coming to see this colourful, idyllic town. Be sure to wander the streets and make the small canals a focal point, as this is without a doubt the most picturesque part of town. There are also many great alleyways and narrow streets to meander, filled with local souvenirs, pastries, and antiques.

A Guide to Colmar France | World of Wanderlust

What to Do in Colmar

Without a doubt the canal boat trip (in “Little Venice”) is one of the most iconic things to do in Colmar. The short boat trip is a great way to see the city from the water and is really popular during summer, so better to do it early in the day.

Another great activity if you have more than one day in Colmar is to rent a bicycle and ride part of the Alsation wine route. We did this by renting a bicycle from Lulu’s bike rental for just 6 euros for half a day (10 euros for a full day) and it was a great way to see the countryside, as well as another beautiful village nearby name Egusheim.

A Guide to Colmar France | World of Wanderlust Gilg_Colmar Gilg_Colmar Michelin dining in Colmar

Where to Eat in Colmar 

As we visited in the off season (April) and it was impossibly cold outdoors, much of our time was spent indoors enjoying the local cuisine. Colmar has some great eateries and an abundance of Michelin Star restaurants, so be sure to pick out your preference and book in advance in order to secure a table.

Gilg – For the best pastries in town (particularly the macarons), every local will tell you to go straight to Gilg. The prices are really fair and the food is delicious – I really couldn’t fault it!

Poulaillon – Another patisserie we frequented for quick lunch bites was Poulaillon. The sweets weren’t anything fantastic but the basic pastries were delicious and cheap!

Alsako – On a rainy Monday night when nothing seemed to be open at 7:00pm, we found this unassuming restaurant opposite the supermarket and decided to give it a go as our last option. I ordered the champignon quinoa dish and it was to die for! The prices are very reasonable (8 euros for my main course) and the food was delicious. A great cheap eats option.

L’atelier du peintre – If you’re looking for a special meal you will be delighted to learn that Colmar is full of Michelin star restaurants. We did our research to find a Michelin starred restaurant that catered to vegetarians and had a fantastic meal at L’atelier du peintre – totally worth the price tag! The meal cost us around $150 for two mains, two desserts and one drink. Colmar is full of Michelin dining experiences – see here to check out this full list.

A Guide to Colmar France | World of Wanderlust A Guide to Colmar France | World of Wanderlust A Guide to Colmar France | World of Wanderlust A Guide to Colmar France | World of Wanderlust A Guide to Colmar France | World of Wanderlust A Guide to Colmar France | World of Wanderlust A Guide to Colmar France | World of Wanderlust A Guide to Colmar France | World of Wanderlust A Guide to Colmar France | World of Wanderlust A Guide to Colmar France | World of Wanderlust A Guide to Colmar France | World of Wanderlust

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

Cathay Pacific Business Class Review

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Boarding flights to Hong Kong is always an exciting time for me as this, by far, is one of my all time favourite cities. Hong Kong was the first place I travelled at 13 years of age and has since been the city to capture and eventually steal my heart. In the past decade (okay, a little more than…) I have since visited Hong Kong a handful of times, usually returning every two or two and a half years at most. This is a city that I find to constantly be changing and evolving, so it is one of the few cities in the world I’m always excited to be revisiting, no matter how many times I’ve seen that city skyline!

For this short trip to Hong Kong I travelled with Cathay Pacific, the flag carrier of Hong Kong and an airline I have travelled with a handful of times to Hong Kong and onwards to Paris for my first solo adventure nearly five years ago. Although I have always enjoyed the economy class product, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to fly up front and share with you a review of the Business Class product on offer with Cathay Pacific — and now I know I’ll struggle to ever go back!

Cathay Pacific Business Class Review | World of Wanderlust

Cathay Pacific Business Class Review

Travel can often be reduced to pretty photos, nice views and indulgent food… but it is so much more than that. As someone who has always loved the journey as much as the destination, I was especially excited to travel with Cathay Pacific as part of their #lifewelltravelled campaign, as I knew straight away this ethos is something close to me when travelling abroad.

The life well travelled campaign encourages travellers to enjoy the entire travel experience from start to finish (and long after, of course!) As such, my journey begins at the Melbourne International Airport – amidst crowds and chaos, as airports are so often defined.

After a quick check-in through the Business Class lane, I breeze through airport security with the “Express Pass” and find myself in the Cathay Pacific lounge in a matter of minutes. As far as lounges go, I’ll be honest, the Cathay Pacific lounge in Melbourne isn’t much to write home about. However I am glad to say that experience was completely reversed when experiencing the lounge in Hong Kong!

A couple of hours later (I always arrive at the airport waaaay too far in advance), I find myself boarding the flight and settling in to my spacious window seat. The first thing I notice is that the aircraft features a 1 – 2 – 1 ratio of seats up front, meaning you have complete privacy over by the window if you are travelling alone. Flying a lot for my job, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate a little privacy on board to switch off and catch some ZzzZzzZzz!

Cathay Pacific Business Class Review | World of Wanderlust Cathay_Pacific_Review

Food on Board

Shortly after take off the cabin crew began serving breakfast, with lunch served midway through the nine hour flight from Melbourne to Hong Kong. As the food was so great at breakfast I got a little carried away, filled up fast, and subsequently skipped lunch!

For breakfast I ordered the vegetarian frittata with a side of beans (never mind the bacon – I’ve been a vegetarian for ten years and just left it on the side!) I also ordered a banana and strawberry smoothie, coffee, and some fresh fruit. Also available were fresh juices, bircher muesli, baked pastries and Hong Kong style milk tea. Overall the food was really good (after all, we are on an airplane here!) Later in the flight I ordered some pralines (fancy word for fine chocolates) to keep me entertained throughout the flight, as I was flying throughout the day and landed in Hong Kong in the early afternoon.

Cathay_Pacific_Review

The Special Touches

The service on board was fantastic, though I have never expected less of Asian hospitality! There’s just something so warm and genuine about the service on board Cathay Pacific. Before meal service the cabin crew do the rounds to deliver small amenity packs, complete with Jurlique hand and face cream to refresh throughout the flight.

One of my biggest tips for long-haul flights is to always drink plenty of water. Don’t be afraid to request an extra bottle or two of water to keep hydrated during the flight – it makes the world of difference when you land!

I’ve also become an avid user of eye masks and ear plugs over the past few years as they help to block the light and sound during long flights, giving you plenty of time to rest. If trying to sleep on board, I will always choose to eat a small meal before sleeping or a small meal on arrival, but usually try to avoid eating more than one meal on board so as to maximise rest time and not feel gluttonous when stepping off the plane at your destination.

Cathay Pacific Business Class Review | World of Wanderlust Cathay Pacific Business Class Review | World of Wanderlust Hong Kong Guide | World of Wanderlust

Arriving in Hong Kong

I’m sure it is no secrete by now that I love Hong Kong. It is a city I can visit and revisit time and time again and somehow never tire of! For first time visitors to Hong Kong I would suggest the following activities as must do’s:

Victoria Peak – for the best view of the city, head straight to “The Peak” as it is affectionately known. The tram is a great way to arrive, slowly dragging you up the steep mountain to finally reach the top.

Tsim Sha Tsui – for the best harbour front views, head over to Kowloon side and exit the MTR at Tsim Sha Tsui. Here you can walk along the Avenue of Stars and catch the light show at 20:00pm in the evenings.

Lantau Island & Big Buddha – to escape the city and discover life outside of the skyscrapers, head over to Lantau Island and visit the Tai O Village, Big Buddha, and Po Lin Monastery.

Still want more? Find all destination information on Hong Kong here.

Shopping in Hong Kong | World of Wanderlust Hong Kong Guide | World of Wanderlust

Cathay Pacific has over 70 flights a week to Hong Kong from six major Australian cities, offering a choice of flying in economy, premium economy or business class” (or, space permitting, mentions at that Cathay has at four flights daily from Sydney, three flights daily from Melbourne, 11 flights a week from Brisbane, four flights weekly from both Cairns and Adelaide, and ten flights weekly from Perth.)  For more information see CathayPacific.com.au.

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

Common Mistakes: 10 Things Not to do in Paris

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As a young girl Paris was always the city I dreamed of visiting – with the romantic tree-lined streets, picnic goers people watching along the Seine, the Eiffel Tower glistening in a blanket of night sky, cabaret shows in the late evenings… you name it, I envisioned it.

Having now visited Paris a handful of times (I can recall six times to be exact), I have learned first hand that it is not always the easiest city to get a grip on, however strongly believe that if you know what to expect before you arrive, you can only have the best experience in the city of lights. To ensure you have a great time on your first visit to Paris, here are a few hand hints: the most common mistakes of what not to do in Paris!

Emma in Paris - Photographed by: Brooke Saward

1. Not learning a few key words/phrases in French

The French are fairly tolerant when you consider the amount of visitors who flock to Paris each year, speaking a foreign language with various accents, often sounding like gibberish to the untrained ear. Imagine it like this: if you had a guest from a foreign country enter your restaurant, hotel or shopfront and welcomed them in your native tongue, only to have them respond in a stream of foreign words, you too would feel quite confronted or at least feel comforted by the question of “Do you speak English?” or “Parlez vous Anglais” before you begin your rant. A few simple words like Hello (Bonjour), Sir/Madam (Monsieur/Madame) and Thank you (Merci) will go a long way in Paris – if at the very least to show your respect for the language and location you’re in.

2. Getting around in a cab or renting a car

Before arriving in Paris at a young seventeen years of age, I had absolutely no idea or comprehension of the sprawling metropolis that would lay ahead of me. One thing is for sure: Paris is huge. I suppose in my teenage naivety I expected everything to be small and walkable, with the Eiffel Tower a stones’ throw away from the Louvre and the artist neighbourhood of Montmartre just around the corner. How wrong I was! While the best way to see Paris is on foot, you will need to utilise the Metro to get around town. I would not recommend taxis or car rental as the streets are crazy and often jammed with traffic, making your journey a much more stressful and time consuming one.

3. Staying out of the city to save a few Euros

Sure, Paris is expensive… but not as expensive as it once was and certainly not so expensive that you can’t warrant a good hotel or apartment in a central location. If you really want to experience Paris for all that it is, you really must stay central and allow yourself to wander out onto the streets in the early morning before the city wakes up and well into the evening when the city comes to life.

paris food france

4. Believe everything in Paris is Expensive

On that note, it is important to know before you arrive in Paris that not everything is expensive. Sure, a visit to Paris doesn’t come cheap – but most capital cities in the world bring hiked prices and if you know where to go to avoid these, you’ll be able to afford more than you anticipated. Many of the attractions are free – such as the museums on the first Sunday of each month and oodles of public gardens to explore.

5. Not embracing the cliches 

It wouldn’t be a visit to Paris without croissants, baguettes and bottles of champagne at the Eiffel Tower. It also wouldn’t be Paris without queuing for hours to access the best views over the city, from the Eiffel Tower to the Arc de Triomphe. And it certainly wouldn’t be Paris without the purchase of at least one kitsch souvenir – be it an Eiffel Tower keyring or a miniature French flag.

6. Not visiting the Palace of Versailles on a 1/2 day trip from Paris

So long as you have more than two full days in Paris, I would entirely recommend making a half day trip from Paris to the Palace of Versailles, just a short train journey outside of Paris. Much of Paris feels like a timewarp – the gorgeous tree-lined avenues, the chic bars and people watching cafes… but nowhere allows you to step back so far in time with such preservation as Versailles Palace & Gardens.

What not to do in Paris - 10 mistakes first time visitors make

7. Eating only in restaurants

Its true: often the best food in Paris will be found at the swanky restaurants you need to book weeks or months in advance. But just as often some of the best food in Paris will be found at street food stalls, hole-in-the-wall cafes, French patisseries… you name it. Here are the 20 Best Cheap Eats in Paris.

8. Shopping or Dining on the Champs Elysées

I’m sorry to burst your bubble here, but the Champs Elysées is good for nothing more than crowd nudging to make your way through to the Arc de Triomphe. The shops here are all international brands you can find at home and the restaurants are either overpriced or underserving on quality… usually a combination of both!

9. Dressing like anything but a Parisian

Leave your bumbags, sneakers and visor caps at home… Paris is best enjoyed when you blend in and by Paris terms, that means dressing up! As soon as you are scouted out as looking like a tourist you can rest assured you will be hassled in touristy areas by scammers or pick pockets, so be sure to do your best to blend in. Read more: How to Dress like a Parisian.

10. Paying for Water

It took me a few 10 euro bottles of water to realise, but my loss is your gain. Parisian tap water is absolutely fine to drink and absolutely free upon request. All you have to do is ask for a carafe d’eau, et voila!

Shangri-La Paris

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

14 Fairy tale Towns in Europe you must visit

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Of all the towns I have visited in my travels, I often find those that stick with me most are the quintessential, fairy tale towns in Europe. Not only do they look as pretty as a postcard, but I have also found that these towns have a way of transporting you to another time and place… quite literally as if you had stepped foot in to a fairy tale picture book and exited the real world. As I have made this somewhat of a goal over the past few years to continue finding places that teleport you elsewhere, I’ve made quite the collection of fairy tale towns below. I promise you that if you visit one, two, or all of them… you won’t be disappointed!

Lake Bled Slovenia - Fairy Tale Towns in Europe

Bled, Slovenia

One of the first fairy tale towns I visited in Europe was Bled in Slovenia. I had seen images of this picturesque lake and immediately wanted to transport there. The lake is understandably the biggest attraction in the town, with plenty of water activities on offer like hiring a row boat for an hourly rate (an activity that revealed my shortcomings in the sport).

Read more: The most romantic lake in the world; Lake Bled

A Guide to Colmar France | World of Wanderlust

Colmar, France

One of the more recent towns I fell in love with has long been on my radar, but only a couple of months ago did I finally make my way to the most gorgeous French town; Colmar. Words can’t even describe the charm of this place — I’m telling you, you can’t make this stuff up!

Annecy_France_Fair_Tale_Towns_Europe

Annecy, France

Another French town visited on the same trip to France hasn’t been on my radar for nearly as long, but I think (and I can’t believe I’m saying this), it is my favourite town in all of France and perhaps even Europe! If that doesn’t give you any more reason to go, I don’t know what will. wink

Read more: The Cutest town in France! Why you must visit Annecy

Fairy Tale Towns of Europe | Hallstatt by World of Wanderlust

Hallstatt, Austria 

On my first solo trip to Europe I had my heart and travel plans set on visiting Hallstatt, a small lakeside town in Austria… not too far from Salzburg. It turns out this town is a little trickier to visit, especially if you’re short on time, so I’d suggest reading the post below if the picture makes you want to jump right in (to the picture, of course, ‘cos the lake would be quite cold I should imagine).

Read more: Austria’s best kept secret: How to visit Hallstatt

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Positano, Italy

Stop. Everything. Now. Isn’t this place just so idyllic!?!? If you’re not already on a separate tab loading a flight compare site to book your flight to Italy, let me plead my case for the Amalfi Coast a little further. Positano is hands down the most picturesque town on the coast, although if I’m to be completely transparent there are more enjoyable towns to stay in when visiting the region. Sorrento is a great place to base yourself as it is bigger, has great restaurants, and is your chance to mingle with locals (Positano is a tourist haven an while you will meet other travellers, you won’t meet the locals which would be a shame as they’re so charismatic!)

Read more: A Quick Guide to Positano

Gent Belgium

Gent, Belgium

Another little town I found earlier in my travels is the gorgeous and still somewhat under the radar town of Gent in flanders. Belgium gets a bad wrap for some reason (don’t be dismissive of a place until you have actually been), but in my eyes it is one of the best countries to visit in Western Europe. If you’re into Gent you will also love Brugges, which is also given a place on this list.

Read more: 48 Hours in Ghent

Mallaig Scotland

Mallaig, Scotland

Some adventures have a way of sticking with you forever and since I constantly reference my trip to Scotland at dinner parties, I suppose it had a lasting impression on me! I travelled throughout the Scottish Highlands in May when the weather is, in full disclosure, miserable. Aside from the weather I really enjoyed my time in Scotland and it is still to this day one of my all time favourite countries in the whole world. The people are also much more memorable than the food ?

Read more: The Top 10 Places to Visit in Scotland

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Počitelj, Bosnia & Herzegovina

If I could tell you my biggest travel secret in Europe it would be to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina. I would recommend dragging along a friend or travel buddy for this one, as tourism is still relatively low and as such travel is a little harder here (as it usually is in the East of Europe). Bus transport is the best way to get around the country and believe me when I say the people are some of the loveliest you will meet all over Europe. I can’t wait to return one day soon – Bosnia has my heart!

Read more: 10 Reasons to visit Bosnia & Herzegovina

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Sintra, Portugal

Ahhh, Sintra. The gorgeous little town just a short drive away from Portugal’s capital; Lisbon. I only had a few hours to explore Sintra and with thick cloud coverage, couldn’t go for that iconic view at the castle. Nevertheless I really adored this city and its’ colourful buildings lining the hillside. This is a great day trip from Lisbon when matched with Cascais.

Read more: Mystical Sintra and Charming Cascais

cesky krumlov

Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

For a really (really, really, really) long time “Krumlov” as it is affectionately known to locals, was my favourite small town in all of Europe. Over the years the secret has gotten out on a large scale, so nowadays I find it a little overrun by crowds. The best way to avoid this is to visit during winter and cross your fingers for a thick layer of puffy snow!

Read more: The cutest town you ever did see: Why you must visit Cesky Krumlov

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Bilbury, England

Probably my favourite location in England is to travel (by road trip) through the Cotswolds. This area of England is a time warp of sorts, with gorgeous thatched houses, small lakes, cute gift stores and really lovely people. I’d recommend spending a few nights in the area so you can visit numerous towns.

Read more: Visiting the Cotswolds

Cong_Ireland

Cong, Ireland

In many ways my trip to Ireland was my favourite “me time” adventure. I rented a car, hit the open road, and spent way too many hours singing to the radio as I rolled around Ireland from one town to the next. While Ireland is absolutely bursting with cute towns to visit, it is hard to go past Cong. Isn’t the picture tempting you already!?

Read more: 8 Places you Must Visit in Ireland

Image: F1online digitale Bildagentur GmbH / Alamy

Reine Norway by Harvey Barrison

Reine, Norway

Of all the countries left on my list to travel I believe Norway is a strong contender for most desirable. Because the small fishing village called Reine is so idyllic and mesmerising, I just couldn’t leave it out. There is perhaps no single place I want to teleport to more… who’s coming with me!?

Image: Harvey Barrison

Cinque Terre, Italy

Riomaggiore, Italy

Last but never least, I don’t think this list would be complete without another gorgeous Italian coastal town – this time a little further north in Cinque Terre. World of Wanderlust contributor Faye headed there last summer to catch a glimpse of why this is one of Italy’s most sought after holiday destinations – drool!!!

Read more: A Guide to Cinque Terre

Image: Faye Bullock for World of Wanderlust

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How many have you visited!? Sound off in the comments below!

Checking In: The Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong

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One of Hong Kong’s swankiest hotels recently underwent a massive renovation: The Landmark Mandarin Oriental. To celebrate, the hotel kindly invited me out to experience the hotel and the city, which was hard to say no to as Hong Kong has always been one of my favourite cities to spend a few days! If you find yourself in Hong Kong and are in search of something extra special, here’s a little more about my experience to help you play your stay!

LMHKG Redesigned L900 Landmark Suite Bathroom - Landscape

Checking In: The Landmark Mandarin Oriental 

Checking in to a hotel like The Landmark Mandarin Oriental is a once in a lifetime experience that you’ll have to pinch yourself to know for sure is actually happening. Swept off my feet from the minute I stepped off the plane from Melbourne, I was whisked away by hotel representatives in a golf buggy to transfer through Hong Kong’s huge (and I mean HUGE) international airport and pass through customs & immigrations with ease. It was at this point I felt like Anne Hathaway a la The Princess Diaries… how is this really happening!?

From there I was picked up by the hotel driver and speedily taken to the hotel for an immediate check-in. I use this term lightly as there wasn’t really a check-in process of sorts. Rather I was taken directly to my room by a hotel representative with my checked luggage arriving in sync. Fancy!

The entire stay from this point forward continued to resemble something out of a fairytale book – pampering spa treatments, a gorgeous (and extremely private) spa area in near darkness, waking up to city views and an indulgent dinner at the hotel’s famous two-michelin-starred restaurant; Amber.

Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong | World of Wanderlust

Breakfast in Bed, anyone?

I don’t know about you but I’m a sucker for a big ol’ breakfast in bed. As a blogger I find myself constantly tapping away on my laptop, so I do love a time and place where I can do so comfortably. On my first morning in Hong Kong I woke up to torrential rain. I’m talking a full blown, chaotic, loud and obnoxious thunderstorm… so I figured, what more reason do I need to tuck up in bed for an hour or so more?

I ordered a selection of breakfast pastries (guilty as charged), fried eggs, and a granola parfait. The lesson learned from the morning was not to pour your coffee in bed!

Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong | World of Wanderlust

Mandarin Oriental Special Touches

Anyone who has been following my blog for a while will know that Mandarin Oriental are one of my all time favourite hotel brands. I’ve stayed with them throughout Europe and Asia, with many of these hotel stays being amongst my most memorable trips.

I always find that Mandarin Oriental staff go the extra mile to make your stay an unforgettable one. From a delicious birthday cake in Paris to a rose petal bath on this trip to Hong Kong, I’m always pleasantly surprised by the MO experience.

All hotel staff remember and greet guests by name, remember your coffee orders, place special touches such as pastries and chocolates in the room… and it seems that is just the beginning! Each day when I returned back to my room there was a little surprise to welcome me – be it my cute panda bear or a tub of my favourite ice cream (key to my heart!)

Hong Kong Guide | World of Wanderlust

The Location: Central Hong Kong

The Landmark Mandarin Oriental is located in Central Hong Kong which, as the name suggests, is a fab location to find yourself in Hong Kong. To simplify it for first time visitors, Hong Kong is commonly referred to as two key areas: Hong Kong Island and Kowloon across the harbour. The hotel is located in the former, very close to the harbour and offering great sunset views from the waterfront.

Nearby to the hotel you will find the Peak Tram which leads to my all time favourite view in Hong Kong; The Peak (it is very well known, but you can’t beat the classics!)

The surrounding area is full of great shops – both local boutiques and international fashion brands. I would strongly recommend taking a walk on Pottinger street for a more localised experience, with the likes of Man Mo Temple and Cat Street a short stroll further in that direction.

Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong | World of Wanderlust

In room breakfast order

Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong | World of Wanderlust

Dinner at Amber Restaurant

Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong | World of Wanderlust

My suite – the L600 (mid-range)

Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong | World of Wanderlust

Mornings like these, yes please!

Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong | World of Wanderlust

Late night bath surprise!

The Landmark Mandarin Oriental - Exterior

I flew with Cathay Pacific to reach Hong Kong, the national airline who have great connections throughout Asia to the rest of the world. For more information on flights to Hong Kong, visit www.cathaypacific.com.au. Thanks to The Landmark Mandarin Oriental for welcoming me to the hotel! All opinions remain my own.

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

A Quick Guide to Mallorca

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Mallorca, located off the east coast of Spain, is the largest of the Balearic Islands. It is an island of pebbled beaches, rugged coves and olive groves where sun-drenched days can be spent harvesting freshly fallen figs, picking plump lemons from trees and foraging almonds directly from the ground. It is also a place to do little other than swim in the turquoise sea and gorge on sizzling king prawns cooked in olive oil and garlic. So if you plan on visiting the stunning sunlit island, here is a quick guide to Mallorca featuring the island’s best beaches, what to eat, where to stay and what to do.

Mallorca

When to go

The best time to go to Mallorca is during the shoulder season in late spring (April-May) or autumn (September-October) as the temperatures are still warm but the beaches are much less crowded. Summer (July-August) gets very busy and very hot so expect large crowds and high temperatures.

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What to eat & drink

Drink: Sangria is to Spaniards, what Pimms is to Brits. A fruity concoction of red wine, lemonade, freshly sliced oranges, lemons and fresh mint make this an ideal drink to cool down in the heat. Alternatively, wine produced on the island is an excellent choice as is a refreshing aperol spritz.

Eat: Spanish cuisine is heavily inspired by the Mediterranean, favouring lashings of olive oil, vibrant vegetables and fresh fish. In Mallorca you’ll find Spanish cuisine abound with traditional dishes such as paella, meatballs and fish on most menus. Order a selection of tapas to share and choose among favourites such as spicy patatas bravas, king prawns in garlic and olive oil, hearty Spanish omelet and sizzling chorizo.

Mallorca

Where to stay

The capital, Palma, is located in the South West of Mallorca and therefore the surrounding area is the busiest and most well-connected bursting restaurants, bars and clubs. I wouldn’t recommend this part of the island if you’ve come for peace and quiet. The North and East coast of the island are less spoiled, the North being known for tranquility and natural beauty and the East being known for long sandy beaches.

Mallorca

Beaches

The beaches in Mallorca aren’t always the easiest to reach and quite often require a rocky descent down a winding path, but what awaits is often a rugged cove of pebbled beaches and sapphire seas. Below are just a few of the beaches along the North which are worth visiting:

Cala Boquer: is a beautiful secluded beach with crystal like waters and very few people in sight. However it isn’t easy to reach; it entails a long walk over part of the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range before you even get a glimpse of the sea but the beautiful beach which awaits is worth the rocky hike.

Cala Figuera: is an idyllic cove where the turquoise waters lap against the pebbled shore. You’ll have to descend a steep, rocky path to reach it but the enticing sea below will keep you motivated on your descent. Set up base on one of the flatter rocks with breathtaking views overlooking the sea and the few boats which are anchored a little further out.

Cala Sant Vicenç – Cala Cabro: This area of northern Mallorca is a haven for secluded coves. Each beach is only a couple of minutes from the next but my favourite among them is Cala Cabro which is the furthest one away. It’s the most tranquil and by far the prettiest with its clear blue waters which is probably why its the most popular spot for scuba divers and kayakers.

Mallorca

Getting Around: Rent a Moped!

One of the most thrilling ways to explore the island is by moped. Even if you’ve never ridden a motorbike or moped before, you can hire a 125cc which goes fast enough to whizz around the island, stopping off at beaches along the way.

Mallorca

Must Visit: Cap de Formentor

The lighthouse at the top of Cap de Formentor marks the most northerly point of Mallorca. It’s a pretty scary ride to get there with hairpin bends and terrifying cliff faces but the views which await at the top are worth every second of the adrenalin-inducing drive.

Mallorca

Must Do: Snorkel

The crystal clear waters are begging to be uncovered below the surface. The secluded bays are teeming with brightly coloured fish and vegetation making them a great spot for snorkeling as well as swimming.

Mallorca

Day Trip: Serra de Tramuntana 

The Serra de Tramuntana is a mountain range running along the southwest to northeast coast of Mallorca. It’s an area of remote mountains and hill towns and is the picture of the real Mallorca in all its rugged glory. This part of the country has been declared a World Heritage Site due to its physical and cultural appearance.

Photography & Words by Faye Bullock

WOW Contributor

Story & images by World of Wanderlust contributor Faye Bullock.

Postcards from New Zealand

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To be writing these words feels surreal. New Zealand has long been on my bucket list and unless you’ve been living under a rock the past decade or two, I’m sure it is on yours too. Full of natural beauty and yet still incredibly diverse, you can’t come to New Zealand and not have a good time. With the rolling valleys, dramatic mountains, endless fjords, lakes and beautiful beaches, I knew long before I arrived that New Zealand was a place that would steal my heart away.

Postcards from New Zealand | World of Wanderlust Matakauri Lodge New Zealand | World of Wanderlust

Although I’m still in the country as I write this and there is still much to see, I wanted to check-in with you guys to share some snaps from my visit to the South Island, before boarding my flight to the North Island for a different experience altogether.

Road tripping in New Zealand | World of Wanderlust Postcards from New Zealand | World of Wanderlust Postcards from New Zealand | World of Wanderlust Postcards from New Zealand | World of Wanderlust

The scenery has been so surreal that I haven’t even allowed myself to reach for my camera half the time, quickly just snapping away on my iPhone after taking a lengthy stare into the distance to appreciate the view firsthand (instead of through my camera lens, which is usually the case!)

I was recently introduced to the Postcard App by Australia Post and as such have been sending off digital postcards left, right and centre to everyone I wish was here (just because I’m travelling solo doesn’t mean I can’t share it with loved ones!)

You take a quick photo on your phone (or use an existing photo), add a message, add an address (or multiple if sending to more than one), then pay ($1.99 if delivered in Australia). The postcard is printed and delivered (in the post) to addressee. As someone who already collects and sends postcards like they’re going out of fashion (I refuse to believe they are or ever will), this app has allowed me to transform my own images into postcards and I’m sure it comes as no surprise that that is something I just had to share with my Aussie readers!!!

Matakauri Lodge New Zealand | World of Wanderlust Matakauri Lodge New Zealand | World of Wanderlust Matakauri Lodge New Zealand | World of Wanderlust

Much love and well wishes from New Zealand – I’d love to know what you thought of NZ if you have been or are dying to go as much as I have been for at least the past few years!? Sound off in the comments below!

Road tripping in New Zealand | World of Wanderlust World of Wanderlust in New Zealand World of Wanderlust in New Zealand Road tripping in New Zealand | World of Wanderlust

This article is in collaboration with Australia Post in celebration of the Postcards App. All opinions remain my own!

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!